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Overview

“The authors do not hold back.” —Booklist (starred review)
“The palpable desperation that pervades the plot...feels true, giving it a chilling air of inevitability.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The Shustermans challenge readers.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“No one does doom like Neal Shusterman.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781508263081
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: 10/02/2018
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 777,396
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including the Unwind dystology, the Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his newest series, Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. Neal is the father of four, all of whom are talented writers and artists themselves. Visit Neal at StoryMan.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.

Jarrod Shusterman is the author of the short story “UnDevoured” in bestselling Unbound. He writes for film and television, and his talents extend to directing films and commercials. He was the story producer on the television movie Zedd—Moment of Clarity, and he and Neal Shusterman are adapting Dry for the screen. Jarrod lives in Los Angeles but enjoys traveling internationally, and is currently studying Spanish. He can be found on Instagram @JarrodShusterman.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Alyssa

Der Wasserhahn in der Küche gibt sehr bizarre Geräusche von sich.

Er keucht und hustet, als hätte er einen Asthmaanfall. Er gurgelt wie ein Ertrinkender, spuckt einmal und verstummt dann ganz. Unser Hund Kingston stellt die Ohren auf, hält jedoch weiter Abstand zum Spülbecken, als ob der Hahn unerwartet wieder zum Leben erwachen könnte, aber so viel Glück haben wir nicht.

Mom hält mit fragendem Blick die Wasserschale unter den Hahn. Dann dreht sie ihn wieder zu und sagt: »Alyssa, hol deinen Vater.«

Seit mein Vater eigenhändig unsere komplette Küche renoviert hat, bildet er sich ein, er wäre ein Meisterinstallateur. Und ein Meisterelektriker. Warum Wucherpreise für Handwerker bezahlen, wenn man es auch selbst machen kann?, sagt er immer. Dann lässt er seinen Worten Taten folgen. Seither haben wir Dauerprobleme mit den Wasser- und Stromleitungen.

Dad ist in der Garage mit Onkel Basil, der hin und wieder bei uns lebt, seit seine Mandelfarm in Modesto pleitegegangen ist. Eigentlich heißt er Onkel Herb, aber irgendwann haben mein Bruder und ich angefangen, ihn nach den verschiedenen Kräutern in unserem Garten zu benennen. Onkel Dill, Onkel Thymian, Onkel Schnittlauch, und eine Zeitlang – von der unsere Eltern sich wünschen, wir würden sie vergessen – Onkel Cannabis. Am Ende blieb Basil hängen, Basilikum war zu lang.

»Dad«, rufe ich in die Garage. »Küchenprobleme.«

Die Beine meines Vaters ragen unter seinem Camry hervor wie die der Bösen Hexe des Ostens. Onkel Basil ist eingehüllt in eine Gewitterwolke aus E-Zigaretten-Qualm.

»Kann das nicht warten?«, fragt mein Vater.

Doch ich ahne schon, dass es nicht warten kann, und antworte: »Ich glaube, es ist was Größeres.«

Er rutscht unter dem Wagen hervor und macht sich schwer seufzend auf den Weg in die Küche.

Mom ist nicht mehr da. Sie steht in der Tür zwischen Küche und Wohnzimmer, Kingstons leere Wasserschale noch in der linken Hand. Mir läuft ein kalter Schauer über den Rücken, ohne dass ich weiß warum.

»Was ist so wichtig, dass du mich aus der ...«

»Psst!«, zischt Mom. Sie ermahnt Dad nur ganz selten, den Mund zu halten, mich und Garrett dafür den ganzen Tag. Aber untereinander schneiden meine Eltern sich praktisch nie das Wort ab. Eine unausgesprochene Regel.

Sie blickt zum Fernseher, wo ein Nachrichtensprecher über die »Nachflusskrise« redet. So nennen die Medien die Dürre, seit die Leute den Begriff »Dürre« nicht mehr hören können. So wie die »globale Erwärmung« zum »Klimawandel« wurde und ein »Krieg« zum »Konflikt«. Jetzt haben sie ein neues Schlagwort für die nächste Eskalationsstufe der Wasserkrise. Sie nennen es »Tap-Out«.

Onkel Basil taucht lange genug aus seiner Dampfwolke auf, um zu fragen: »Was ist los?«

»Arizona und Nevada sind gerade aus dem Stausee-Hilfsprogramm ausgestiegen«, erklärt Mom. »Sie haben die Schleusentore aller Dämme geschlossen. Sie brauchen das Wasser selbst, sagen sie.«

Das bedeutet, der Colorado River kommt nicht mehr in Kalifornien an.

Onkel Basil versucht, das Gehörte zu begreifen. »Den ganzen Fluss abdrehen wie einen Wasserhahn? Können die das?«

Mein Vater zieht eine Braue hoch. »Sie haben es gerade getan.«

Im Fernsehen wird live zu einer Pressekonferenz des Gouverneurs von Kalifornien umgeschaltet, der vor einer Menge von zappligen Reportern spricht.

»Das ist bedauerlich, kommt jedoch nicht vollkommen unerwartet«, sagt der Gouverneur. »Unsere Leute arbeiten rund um die Uhr daran, einen neuen Deal mit diversen Behörden auszuhandeln.«

»Was soll das denn heißen?«, fragt Onkel Basil.

»Psst«, zischen Mom und ich gleichzeitig.

»Als Vorsichtsmaßnahme werden die Ressourcen aller städtischen und gemeindlichen Wasserdistrikte vorübergehend an Einrichtungen der kritischen Infrastruktur umgeleitet. Außerdem kann ich nicht nachdrücklich genug betonen, dass es notwendig ist, Ruhe zu bewahren. Ich möchte Ihnen allen persönlich versichern, dass es sich um eine vorübergehende Maßnahme handelt und kein Grund zur Sorge besteht.«

Die Medienvertreter bombardieren ihn mit Fragen, doch der Gouverneur verschwindet, ohne eine einzige zu beantworten.

»Sieht so aus, als wäre Kingstons Wassernapf nicht der einzige, der leer bleibt«, sagt Onkel Basil. »Ich nehme an, dass wir demnächst auch das Wasser aus der Toilettenschüssel trinken müssen.«

Mein jüngerer Bruder Garrett, der die ganze Zeit auf der Couch gesessen und darauf gewartet hat, dass das normale Fernsehprogramm weitergeht, zieht ein entsprechendes Gesicht, worüber Onkel Basil lachen muss.

»Immerhin«, sagt Dad halbherzig zu Mom, »sind diesmal nicht meine Klempnerarbeiten schuld.«

Ich gehe in die Küche und drehe den Wasserhahn auf – als hätte ich magische Hände. Nichts. Nicht einmal ein Tröpfeln. Unser Wasserhahn hat einen Herzstillstand erlitten, und keine Wiederbelebungsmaßnahme wird ihn zurückholen. Im Kopf verzeichne ich Datum und Uhrzeit wie die Leute in der Notaufnahme: 4. Juni, 13:42 Uhr.

Alle werden sich daran erinnern, wo sie waren, als die Wasserhähne versiegten, denke ich. Wie bei der Ermordung eines Präsidenten.

Hinter mir öffnet Garrett den Kühlschrank und nimmt eine Flasche Gatorade heraus. Er trinkt gierig, doch nach dem dritten Schluck bremse ich ihn.

»Stell es zurück«, sage ich. »Spar etwas für später auf.«

»Aber ich habe jetzt Durst«, jammert er. Er ist zehn – sechs Jahre jünger als ich. Und Zehnjährige haben Probleme mit verzögertem Belohnungsaufschub.

Die Flasche ist ohnehin fast leer, also lasse ich sie ihm. Ich sehe nach, was noch im Kühlschrank ist. Ein paar Bier, drei weitere Flaschen Gatorade, ein Vier-Liter-Kanister Milch, in dem nur noch ein Schluck übrig ist, und andere Reste.

Kennt ihr das, dass man manchmal gar nicht weiß, wie durstig man ist, bis man den ersten Schluck trinkt? Nun, dieses Gefühl kriege ich jetzt plötzlich allein vom Blick in den Kühlschrank.

Noch nie war ich einer Vorahnung so nahe.

Mit einem Mal höre ich die Nachbarn auf der Straße. Wir kennen unsere Nachbarn – begegnen ihnen manchmal. Die einzigen Anlässe, bei denen sie scharenweise gleichzeitig auf die Straße strömen, sind der 4. Juli und Erdbeben.

Auch meine Eltern, Garrett und mich zieht es nach draußen, wo wir alle verlegen herumstehen, als erwarteten wir, dass irgendjemand uns sagt, was wir nun am besten tun sollen, oder zumindest bestätigt, dass all das wirklich passiert. Jeanette und Stu Leeson von gegenüber, die Maleckis mit ihrem Neugeborenen und Mr Burnside, der schon immer siebzig ist, so lange ich mich erinnern kann. Nur die McCrackens sind nirgends zu sehen, was zu erwarten war, so zurückgezogen wie die leben. Wahrscheinlich haben sie sich in ihrer Vorstadt festung verbarrikadiert, nachdem sie die Nachricht gehört haben.

Mit den Händen in den Taschen stehen wir da und vermeiden jeden Blickkontakt wie meine Klassenkameraden beim Schulball.

»Okay«, sagt mein Dad schließlich, »wer von euch hat Arizona und Nevada verärgert?«

Alle kichern. Nicht weil es besonders lustig ist, aber es löst die Spannung ein wenig.

Mr Burnside zieht eine Augenbraue hoch. »Ich sag's ja nurungern, aber hab ich nicht prophezeit, dass sie das, was vom Colorado River noch übrig ist, irgendwann horten werden? Wir haben zugelassen, dass wir ausschließlich von diesem Fluss abhängig sind. Jetzt sind wir geliefert.«

Früher wusste niemand so genau, woher unser Wasser kam, und es kümmerte auch keinen. Es war einfach immer da. Aber als dann das Central Valley langsam austrocknete und die Preise für Lebensmittel in die Höhe schossen, wurden die Menschen aufmerksamer. Oder zumindest aufmerksam genug, um Gesetze und Wählervorschläge zu verabschieden. Die meisten waren nutzlos, vermittelten den Leuten jedoch das Gefühl, dass etwas getan wurde. Wie die Gesetzesinitiative gegen leichtfertige Verschwendung, durch die unter anderem das Werfen von Wasserbomben verboten wurde.

»Las Vegas hat noch Wasser«, bemerkt jemand.

Unser Nachbar Stu schüttelt den Kopf. »Stimmt ... aber ich habe gerade versucht, ein Hotelzimmer in Vegas zu buchen. Eine Million Zimmer, und kein einziges ist verfügbar.«

Mr Burnside lacht kläglich, als würde ihn Stus Unglück irgendwie freuen. »Eigentlich sind es nur hundertvierundzwanzigtausend Hotelzimmer. Offenbar hatten eine Menge Leute die gleiche Idee.«

»Ha! Könnt ihr euch den Verkehr auf dem Interstate Highway vorstellen?«, fragt meine Mom wie der Fuchs, dem die hoch hängenden Trauben zu sauer sind. »Da möchte ich jetzt nicht im Stau stehen!«

Und dann gebe ich meinen Senf dazu. »Wenn das verbliebene Wasser an ›lebenswichtige Einrichtungen‹ umgeleitet wird, muss noch etwas übrig sein. Irgendjemand sollte die Verantwortlichen verklagen, damit sie uns einen Bruchteil davon abgeben. So wie bei den vorübergehenden Stromabschaltungen. Jedes Stadtviertel kriegt jeden Tag ein bisschen Wasser.«

Meine Eltern sind beeindruckt von meinem Vorschlag. Die anderen sehen mich mit einem »Ist sie nicht entzückend?«-Blick an, der mich nervt. Meine Eltern sind überzeugt, dass ich eines Tages Anwältin werde. Das kann sein, aber wenn es so kommt, wäre es wahrscheinlich bloß ein Mittel zum Zweck – dabei weiß ich noch nicht mal, zu welchem Zweck eigentlich.

Aber das hilft uns jetzt auch nicht weiter, und obwohl ich meine Idee gut finde, verfolgen die Mächtigen vermutlich sowieso ihre eigenen Interessen, so dass mein Vorschlag verpuffen würde. Und wer weiß, vielleicht ist auch gar nicht genug Wasser übrig, um es zu teilen.

Ein Handy meldet den Eingang einer SMS. Jeanette blickt auf das Display. »Super! Jetzt haben meine Verwandten in Ohio es auch mitgekriegt. Als ob ich zu meinem Stress auch noch ihren bräuchte.«

»Schreib zurück: ›Schickt Wasser‹«, witzelt mein Vater.

»Wir schaffen das«, sagt meine Mutter beruhigend. Sie ist klinische Psychologin. Beruhigen ist ihre zweite Natur.

Garrett, der die ganze Zeit still neben uns stand, führt seine Gatorade-Flasche zum Mund ... und einen winzigen Moment lang hören alle auf zu reden. Unwillkürlich. Fast wie ein mentaler Schluckauf. Jeder schaut zu, wie mein Bruder die durststillende blaue Flüssigkeit trinkt.

Schließlich bricht Mr Burnside das Schweigen. »Wir reden später weiter«, sagt er und wendet sich zum Gehen. Das war schon immer seine Art, ein Gespräch zu beenden, was in diesem Fall zur Auflösung der lockeren kleinen Runde führt. Alle verabschieden sich und machen sich auf den Weg zu ihren Häusern ... aber vorher wirft mehr als ein Augenpaar noch einen kurzen Blick auf Garretts leere Gatorade-Flasche.

»Einkaufstour zu Costco!«, verkündet Onkel Basil später an diesem Nachmittag, etwa gegen fünf. »Wer kommt mit?«

»Kann ich ein Hotdog haben?«, fragt Garrett, der weiß, dass er sowieso eins bekommt, selbst wenn Onkel Basil jetzt Nein sagt. Onkel Basil ist sehr leicht rumzukriegen.

»Hotdogs sind gerade unser kleinstes Problem«, erkläre ich Garrett. Er widerspricht nicht. Er weiß, warum wir fahren – er ist nicht dumm. Aber er weiß auch, dass er sein Hotdog bekommen wird.

Wir steigen in Onkel Basils Allrad-Pick-up, der höher ist, als es für einen Mann seines Alters erlaubt sein sollte.

»Mom hat gesagt, wir haben noch ein paar Flaschen Wasser in der Garage«, erklärt Garrett.

»Wir werden mehr als nur ein paar brauchen«, bemerke ich. Ich versuche, es im Kopf auszurechnen. Ich habe diese Flaschen auch gesehen. Viereinhalb Liter. Für fünf Personen. Das reicht nicht mal für einen Tag.

Als wir aus unserem Viertel auf die Hauptstraße abbiegen, sagt Onkel Basil: »Vermutlich dauert es nicht länger als einen Tag, bis der Bezirk das Wasser wieder laufen lässt. Wir brauchen höchstens ein paar Kästen.«

»Und Gatorade!«, sagt Garrett. »Vergesst die Gatorades nicht! Die enthalten zahlreiche Elektrolyte!« Das erklären sie einem immer in der Werbung, dabei weiß Garrett gar nicht, was Elektrolyte sind.

»Seht es mal positiv«, sagt Onkel Basil. »Wahrscheinlich müsst ihr ein paar Tage nicht zur Schule.« Die kalifornische Version von schneefrei.

Ich habe die Tage bis zum Ende meines vorletzten Schuljahres runtergezählt. Nur noch zwei Wochen. Aber wie ich meine Highschool kenne, wird man einen Weg finden, die verlorenen Tage am Ende dranzuhängen und damit den Beginn der Sommerferien hinauszuzögern.

Als wir auf den Kundenparkplatz von Costco abbiegen, sehen wir eine Menschenmenge. Offenbar hatten alle aus unserer Gegend die gleiche Idee. Uns bleibt nichts anderes übrig, als auf der Suche nach einem freien Platz im Kreis zu fahren. Schließlich zieht Onkel Basil seine Costco-Karte aus der Tasche und gibt sie mir.

»Geht ihr zwei schon rein. Wir treffen uns drinnen, wenn ich einen Parkplatz gefunden habe.«

Ich frage mich, wie er ohne Karte reinkommen will, andererseits findet Onkel Basil immer einen Weg. Garrett und ich hüpfen aus dem Wagen und schließen uns den Menschenhorden an, die zum Eingang strömen. Drinnen geht es zu wie an einem Black Friday, wenn das Gedränge am schlimmsten ist, aber heute haben es die Menschen nicht auf Fernseher und Videospiele abgesehen. Die Einkaufswagen in den Schlangen vor den Kassen sind vollgepackt mit Konserven, Hygieneartikeln und vor allem mit Wasser. Das Lebensnotwendige.

Irgendwas fühlt sich komisch an. Ich weiß nicht genau, was es ist, aber es hängt in der Luft wie ein Geruch. Es ist die Ungeduld der Menschen vor den Kassen. Fast wie mit einem Rammbock bahnen sich die Leute mit ihren Einkaufswagen einen Weg durch die Schlangen. Es herrscht eine Art primitive Ur-Feindlichkeit, nur verdeckt von einer dünnen Schicht aus vorstädtischer Höflichkeit, die langsam fadenscheinig wird.

»Der Einkaufswagen ist kacke«, sagt Garrett.

Er hat recht. Ein Rad ist verbogen und blockiert, so dass der Wagen sich nur schieben lässt, wenn er auf den drei anderen Rädern rollt. Ich drehe mich zum Eingang um. Als ich den Wagen ergattert habe, waren nur noch ein paar übrig, und die werden inzwischen auch weg sein.

»Wird schon gehen«, erkläre ich Garrett.

Wir schieben uns durch die Menge bis in die hintere linke Ecke des Ladens, wo die Paletten mit Wasser stehen. Dabei schnappen wir Gesprächsfetzen auf.

»Die nationale Katastrophenhilfe ist schon mit dem Hurrikan Noah überfordert«, erzählt eine Mutter einer anderen. »Wie sollen die auch noch uns helfen?«

»Es ist nicht unsere Schuld! Achtzig Prozent des Wassers verbraucht die Landwirtschaft!«

»Wenn der Staat mehr Zeit darauf verwendet hätte, neue Wasserquellen zu erschließen, anstatt uns mit Strafen zu belegen, wenn wir unsere Swimmingpools füllen«, sagt eine Frau, »dann wären wir jetzt nicht in dieser Lage.«

Garrett wendet sich zu mir. »Mein Freund Jason hat ein Riesenaquarium im Wohnzimmer. Er musste keine Strafe zahlen.«

»Das ist was anderes«, erkläre ich ihm. »Fische gelten als Haustiere.«

»Aber es ist trotzdem Wasser.«

»Dann geh und trink es«, sage ich und bringe ihn damit zum Schweigen. Ich habe keine Zeit, über die Probleme anderer Menschen nachzudenken. Wir haben unsere eigenen Sorgen. Aber wie es aussieht, bin ich die Einzige, die das kümmert, weil Garrett schon losgerannt ist, um kostenlose Proben abzustauben.

Der Wagen schert beim Schieben immer wieder nach links aus, so dass ich mich schwer auf die rechte Seite stützen muss, damit das blockierte Rad nicht wie ein Schiffsruder gegensteuert.

Im hinteren Teil des großen Ladens ist es am vollsten, und als ich den letzten Gang mit den Wasserpaletten erreiche, erkenne ich, dass ich zu spät bin. Die Paletten sind leer.

Rückblickend hätten wir in dem Moment herkommen sollen, als die Hähne abgedreht wurden. Aber wenn etwas Drastisches passiert, entsteht eine gewisse Verzögerung. Es ist kein Leugnen oder Schock im engeren Sinne, es ist eher wie ein mentaler freier Fall. Man braucht Zeit, um das Problem wirklich zu begreifen, und erkennt dabei nicht, was man eigentlich tun müsste, solange noch die Möglichkeit besteht. Ich denke an all die Menschen in Savannah, die miterleben mussten, wie Hurrikan Noah eine unerwartete Kehrtwende machte und direkt auf sie zuraste, anstatt zurück aufs Meer hinauszuziehen, wie es vorhergesagt war. Wie lange haben sie mit starrem Blick die Nachrichten im Fernsehen verfolgt, bevor sie ihre Sachen gepackt und die Stadt verlassen haben? Ich kann euch sagen wie lange. Dreieinhalb Stunden.

Die Leute hinter mir sehen nicht, dass die Wasserpaletten leer sind, und schieben sich weiter vorwärts. Irgendwann wird hoffentlich jemand so klug sein, ein Schild vor dem Supermarkt aufzustellen, auf dem »KEIN WASSER« steht, aber bis dahin strömen die Kunden weiter in den Laden und drängen in den hinteren Bereich, wo es erstickend eng geworden ist wie in einem Moshpit vor der Bühne bei einem Rockkonzert.

Instinktiv steuere ich den Seitengang mit den Regalen für Softdrinks in Dosen an, deren Vorrat ebenfalls rapide schwindet. Aber ich bin nicht hier, um Softdrinks zu kaufen. Hinter den Stapeln von Getränken entdecke ich einen einzelnen Wasserkasten, den jemand stehen lassen hat, vielleicht gestern, als Wasser noch keine derart kostbare Ware war. Ich will danach greifen, doch der Kasten wird mir im letzten Moment von einer dünnen Frau mit Hakennase weggerissen. Sie hebt ihn wie eine Krone auf die Konserven in ihrem Einkaufswagen.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Dry"
by .
Copyright © 2019 S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Hedderichstr.
Excerpted by permission of S. Fischer Verlag.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Motto,
Teil eins Tap-Out,
Tag Eins Samstag, 4. Juni,
1|Alyssa,
Tag Zwei Sonntag, 5. Juni,
2|Kelton,
3|Alyssa,
Tag Drei Montag, 6. Juni,
4|Kelton,
5|Alyssa,
6|Kelton,
Teil zwei In drei Tagen,
7|Kelton,
Tag Vier Dienstag, 7. Juni,
8|Alyssa,
9|Alyssa,
10|Kelton,
11|Alyssa,
12|Jacqui,
13|Alyssa,
14|Kelton,
15|Alyssa,
16|Kelton,
17|Jacqui,
Teil drei Die Kluft,
Tag Fünf Mittwoch, 8. Juni,
18|Henry,
19|Alyssa,
20|Jacqui,
21|Henry,
22|Henry,
23|Alyssa,
24|Henry,
25|Alyssa,
26|Kelton,
27|Alyssa,
28|Henry,
29|Alyssa,
Teil vier Fluchtbunker,
Tag Sechs Donnerstag, 9. Juni,
30|Kelton,
31|Jacqui,
32|Alyssa,
33|Henry,
34|Kelton,
35|Alyssa,
36|Kelton,
Teil fünf Komme, was wolle,
37|Jacqui,
38|Henry,
39|Kelton,
40|Garrett,
41|Alyssa,
42|Kelton,
43|Henry,
44|Alyssa,
45|Jacqui,
46|Alyssa,
47|Kelton,
48|Alyssa,
49|Jacqui,
50|Alyssa,
51|Kelton,
52|Alyssa,
53|Jacqui,
54|Alyssa,
55|Alyssa,
Teil sechs Ein neuer Normalzustand,
56|Alyssa,

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

Dry

By Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

About the Book

How often do we take our water supply for granted? Sometimes we’re asked to conserve water, but it’s hard to remember to do so when you can turn on the tap and water pours out. Until one day, it doesn’t. Nobody in California expects the Tap-Out, so when the water supply cuts off, most people are not prepared. Panic ensues as stores sell out of bottled water and all other beverages. There’s hope that the government will provide relief, but as the days pass and not enough help arrives, people become angrier and even savage. For Alyssa, Garrett, and Kelton, separated from their respective parents and attempting to leave town toward safety, this anger puts their lives in danger. The unwelcome addition of Jacqui and Henry complicates the journey to Kelton’s family’s bug-out location in the woods. How will they find the strength to survive?

Discussion Questions

1. Why is the Tap-Out situation first ignored by the media? What kind of news does the media tend to report? When the national news does start to report on the Tap-Out, how do they cover it? Why is the tone of the coverage important to the residents affected by the event? Do you think that the media calling the drought a “flow crisis” affects the public’s level of preparedness? Why does Kelton think newscasters continue to tell residents to remain calm? What is the alternative? What are the risks to both sides?

2. Alyssa notes the time of the water shut-off “like they do in the emergency room: 1:32 p.m., June 4th.” What has occurred when emergency room workers note the time like this? How is that situation similar to what Alyssa is facing?

3. The Shustermans alternate between four different narrators—Alyssa, Kelton, Jacqui, and Henry—and brief “snapshots” that focus on other people. Why do you think they chose to use this format? What do the different voices add to your understanding of the story? What do the snapshots add to the overall narrative of the book? Which characters or snapshots did you find most compelling?

4. According to Kelton’s dad, what are the three types of people in the world? Do you agree with his analysis? How do you think he would classify Alyssa, Garrett, Jacqui, and Henry? When the neighbors come into the night to look at the McCrackens’ lights, Kelton says, “‘And I’m scared to the bone, because right now I can’t tell if I’m looking into the eyes of sheep, or wolves.’” Which do they end up being? Why do you think people are acting this way?

5. Why are the water-zombies such a threat? Were you surprised to see such rapid moral and physical decline in a community without water? What does this say about human nature and civilization? How might the spread of water-zombies transform society? Explain your answers. How would you have handled the water-zombies? Do you think they’re beyond help? Do you think once water access was restored, water-zombies could return to the lives they led before the Tap-Out?

6. Uncle Basil goes to Daphne’s house so that he won’t be a burden on Alyssa’s family. Why would Uncle Basil think of himself as a burden? Does his absence end up helping his family? What does Uncle Basil contribute toward Alyssa’s survival? How do you think the story might have changed if Uncle Basil had stayed?

7. Describe Kelton’s upbringing, including his family’s efforts to protect themselves. How did the neighborhood, particularly Alyssa’s family, view Kelton’s family before the Tap-Out? Are you surprised by any of Kelton’s behaviors or beliefs? Think about comments such as “winning the affection of a girl is a lot like shooting a deer” and “girls love a guy with lots of pockets.” Do you think his upbringing impacted his social instincts? Is he the kind of person you’d want with you during a Tap-Out? Explain your answer.

8. Explain why Kelton’s dad doesn’t think his family should share their supplies with their neighbors, and describe other characters’ reactions. Do you believe in this “either you share nothing or you share everything” mentality? What are the consequences of both actions? Why do some characters change their minds about sharing resources?

9. When Alyssa and Garrett set out with Kelton to find their parents, she’s surprised to see that her neighborhood looks the same, noting that “the wreckage is more internal.” At what point does the damage from the Tap-Out begin to reflect on the outside world? How does the level of visible wreckage relate to the breakdown of polite society? Are there other sorts of internal wreckage shown in this story? Do you think you would have been more afraid of the internal or external impact? Which factors would you have let guide your actions?

10. Garrett and Alyssa have very different reactions to the scene on the beach. Would you have continued walking on the beach to find out what happened? What other clues might you have found? Why do you think the authors made the object in the water ambiguous, rather than saying that it was a body?

11. When Kelton draws his gun on Dalton, he is unable to pull the trigger. With all his survivalist training, why do you think he’s unable to kill Dalton? Do you think he would have been able to shoot the marauders who overran his house? What is the difference between the confrontation with Dalton and the situation with Benji and Kyle? Why do you think the outcome is so different later in the story? How has Kelton changed between the two events?

12. What does the “call of the void” mean to Jacqui? How does her familiarity with risk help or hinder her as she tries to survive the Tap-Out? Does her attitude toward the call of the void change during the course of the story?

13. Why does Jacqui decide against going back to the house where she is squatting after witnessing the scene at the beach? Do you agree that her chances of survival are better with people rather than hiding from them? Think about the state of the beach when Garrett and Alyssa arrived, and the evidence that something terrible had occurred there. Did Jacqui’s description of her beach experience match what you thought had happened based on Garrett and Alyssa’s observations? What made Jacqui realize it was going to turn into a riot? What would you have done in the situation? What could have been done to prevent the situation?

14. It is difficult for the different members of this group to trust one another. What alliances form as they move toward the bug-out? How do the different characters lose or gain the confidence of others? In the end, who do you think proves themselves worthy of that trust? How might outcomes have changed if someone had shown more or less trust toward the others?

15. What is Kelton’s dad trying to avoid with his end-of-the-world prepping? Is he able to achieve his goal of protecting his family? Do you think Kelton’s ability to see his father as human is a consequence of the situation at hand or of shifting perceptions on Kelton’s part?

16. Are you surprised that Jacqui leaves the antibiotics for Uncle Basil and Daphne? What does it say about who Jacqui really is? Do you think she would have done this at the beginning of the story? Explain your answer.

17. Why do the others allow Henry to travel with them? Are there points at which they could have gotten what they needed without him? Why do you think no one thought to look inside the packaging to make sure Henry was really carrying a full case of water? Why is it so much easier for Alyssa to trust him than it is for her to trust Jacqui or even Kelton?

18. As the group travels down the aqueduct, Kelton says, “‘It feels to me like the world has torn in two, and we’re traveling the seam of that tear. The chasm between what was, and what will be.’” Do you think the world has torn in two? Explain your answer. Why do you think Kelton feels this way? Why is an aqueduct such an appropriate place to act as the seam between the old world and the new? Can you think of a time in your life where you’ve faced a big transition? If so, can you relate to Kelton’s statement? How would your feelings have impacted your actions if you were in Kelton’s situation?

19. Why does Brady leave home? Do these reasons have anything to do with his family’s inability to reach him after the Tap-Out? How does his death change the way that Kelton reacts to the events around him? In what way do Brady’s actions endanger his family as well as himself?

20. What allows the Water Angel’s group to work together without turning on one another or falling prey to outside dangers? How much of this has to do with Charity’s personality? What keeps the group from staying on the highway with Charity? Can you come up with other places that water can be found where others may not have thought to look?

21. Why was Kelton’s drone spying on Alyssa inappropriate and unacceptable? Do you think Kelton now understands the seriousness of his actions?

22. As Alyssa steals water to save Garrett, Jacqui says, “‘I won’t take [the water]. Because even though I’ve seen everyone around me lose their humanity today, I realize that in this moment, I have finally found mine.’” What evidence does she have that everyone else has lost their humanity? What has caused her to find hers? Think about how Alyssa said she would never become a monster, yet she’s taken water from an old woman to save her brother. Would you do the same to save yourself or someone you love?

23. Do you think Alyssa would have been able to shoot Garrett, Kelton, and herself? Would this have been an act of bravery or of cowardice? Have you or anyone you know ever faced an impossible decision? If so, how was it handled? Did you come to a solution? What did you learn about yourself or your values?

24. Why does Henry take credit for saving people from a burning building? How does this relate to his actions throughout the story? Do you think he views the Tap-Out as a tragedy or an opportunity? Often characters grow throughout a novel, while others fall or simply don’t change at all. Which kind of character is Henry? When you learn his age at the end of the book, does it change your opinion of him? Explain your answer.

Extension Activities

1. The citizens of California had made some halfhearted efforts to conserve water, but they were not enough to prevent the chaos of a shutdown. What is your community doing to conserve this precious natural resource? Research what water-saving ordinances exist in your town, and if there is a plan for providing water during a drought. If there is not, talk to local leaders about your concerns or draft a letter urging them to create some.

2. Individuals and families can also help conserve water in their own homes and yards. What efforts have you made toward conservation? Come up with a plan for your household that will allow you to save a gallon of water per day. When you have mastered these techniques, see if you can decrease your water usage even further.

3. The scarcity of natural resources made it prohibitively difficult for Alyssa and the others to share with their neighbors. Help prevent this sort of situation by collecting non-perishable food and beverages for a local food pantry. Get your classmates or neighbors involved in the cause.

4. Kelton and his family had prepared both their home and their bug-out for survival in case of a crisis like the Tap-Out. What would be in your survival kit? Decide what you would need to carry with you in case of an emergency, and gather the items together in a sturdy bag or backpack. Keep it on hand in case anything happens. What items should everyone have in an emergency kit?

5. There are a number of skills that Alyssa and the others find handy during their journey, including first aid, martial arts, and map reading. Choose one of these skills that you don’t currently possess, and learn more about it. Take lessons or visit your local library for books and videos on the topics.

6. The group has to navigate mountains, forests, and river beds to reach safety. Using google earth or satellite map pictures, plot out the actual path they took from South Orange County to the Angeles National Forest. What would you have found most challenging? Most thrilling?

7. Though the desalination machines do not end up producing any potable water, you can learn to make your own simple desalination machine or water purifier. Find an article, book, or YouTube video to help you build your own lifesaving device. Then research where desalination is currently being used. Are there any plants in the US? Are there plants that were being built, but were never finished? Write a letter advocating for additional plants to be built or any partial construction to be completed, and research who best to send it to.

8. Dehydration is not the only risk during a disaster of this size. What other illnesses can take hold during a catastrophe? How do we safeguard against this? What might happen if an illness spreads as quickly as the packs of water-zombies? Research natural disasters and plagues throughout history to trace the diagnoses, evolution, consequences, treatment, and efforts for future prevention. What important lessons were learned? What kinds of technology do we have today that might help us to better fight the spread of contagious diseases?

Guide written by Cory Grimminck, Director of the Portland District Library in Michigan.

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

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Dry (B&N Exclusive Edition) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
ahyperboliclife More than 1 year ago
“It’s so quiet now,” I say. “It almost makes you forget what’s out there.” “Nothing out there but people,” Henry points out. “People can me monsters. Whether it’s just their actions, or whether it’s who they really are, it doesn’t matter. The result is the same.” … “Sometimes you have to be the monster to survive.” Southern California is desperate for water, but there’s nothing left and the tap has officially run dry. Neighbors begin to turn on each other and chaos is rising across the state. Alyssa’s desperate to keep herself and her brother safe after her parents don’t return from a mission to get water. She pairs with with unlikely allies in hopes of surviving. Dry is a gripping story of the lengths you’ll go to survive, and if it’s possible to life with yourself in the aftermath. Things I Liked I really loved that we got so many different POVs throughout the story, not only with the main characters, but also the snapshot chapters that showed what was happening around other parts of Southern California. The writing felt so personal, like a journal. It made it easy to feel like you were in the story. The whole book is really a warning for global warming, climate change, and the inaction that doomed an entire state. And I loved that they addressed how the media decides what’s newsworthy and important enough to get coverage. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so anxious while reading a book. It was so eerie and thrilling it felt like a horror movie, waiting for other shoe to drop. And the overwhelming relief when you get some semblance of safety was this high that made this book a true rollercoaster. Things I Didn’t Like I didn’t really love or connect with any of the characters. And it’s a testament to the incredible writing that I was still so emotionally invested in the story. I thought Jacqui was kinda just mean and abrasive - I get it’s literally an end-of-the-world situation, but I didn’t necessarily want to root for her. Kelton had his moments, but he definitely did some sketchy things. Henry was a bit of a know-it-all and a try-hard. Overall, I didn’t really latch onto anyone. I appreciate their selfishness and self preservation, but it just didn’t really connect to the characters. I had so many intense emotions while reading this that I actually had to pause a few times to collect myself. Neal and Jarrod Shusterman infuse drama and intensity into this collapsing world in a way that puts your heart in an aching state of desperation. Dry is really like no other book I’ve ever read, and it a truly unique experience. I received a copy of the book from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.
Mel-Loves-Books 5 months ago
“Sometimes you have to be a monster to survive.” What would you do to survive? Would you deprive or steal from your neighbors? Your friends? Strangers? What about for your family to survive? How far would you go? Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman had me asking myself these questions. The premise of the book is basically that California runs out of water and everything goes down hill from there. Following this group of teens through the crisis was gut wrenching, and so much of how the story was written seemed very realistic to me. I could see how things could happen just like this. It was very chilling. Dry is a book I may never forget and for that reason I am giving it 5 stars.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Thrilling, blood rushing. Feels like every time I just finished a chapter I did my hardest work out.
WhisperingStories 11 months ago
This is a really well written title with a rock solid premise – California has run out of water. Everyone sort-of knew it was coming but was sure that there would be some plans in place to make sure that nobody would suffer once the taps stopped working, this was their biggest mistake. The story follows to lives of a group of kids from very different backgrounds and how they cope in this disaster. Alyssa and her brother, Garett, are from a normal suburban household and weren’t prepared for this at all but they adapt well to the situation while Kelton, their next door neighbour is from a doomsday prepping family. In their search for safety and water, they meet a couple of other teens who I felt weren’t as well developed as characters so I struggled to sympathise with them. The book flips perspectives between the characters, which is something I love – seeing the same story through the eyes of everyone involved. I enjoyed the first 2/3 of this book much more than the ending, I would have much rather there had be a sequel and the story ended in a more satisfying way than the current ending that I felt was a bit rushed and left too many loose ends. That said, I have read other books by the author Neal Shusterman and hold him to a very high standard so I might just be being picky here…
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every time I read books by Neil I have to take a break from reading, go on a little soul searching and drink a lot of water to keep my brain from frying.
Stacy_Renee More than 1 year ago
I read this fast-paced young adult dystopian for the 'cli-fi aka climate fiction' PopSugar prompt. The premise is that after years of drought, water flow to California just stops, leaving millions of people without water. Alyssa and her little brother, Garret, aren't prepared and when they run out of water, their parents head to the coast where desalination machines have been set up. When they don't return, Alyssa and her brother realize that they have to do something. Luckily, their across-the-street neighbors are 'preppers' that have a son, Kelton, who just happens to have a big crush on Alyssa. Coming together for the sake of survival, they maneuver chaos and desperate characters alike as they search for water and a safe place. I feel like this is a very important read that poses a lot of important questions about what would happen if a crisis or disaster were to strike. What would you do if there was no more water? How would you survive? How would your neighbors survive? How would society as a whole be affected? It's good to be prepared, but it won't always make things better. It's nearly impossible to 'prep' for every single scenario and it's likely that it'll all go south and not as you planned anyway. Kelton found this out pretty quickly! This is the second novel by Neal Shusterman that I've read and I think I'm seeing a trend of defying the status quo and writing about real problems that affect us as a country and a society. I'm looking forward to reading more!
runnergirl83 More than 1 year ago
What happens when there is no more water? There is a drought and a water shortage. Then the Colorado river is cut off from California and there is no more water. This novel rotates between characters as they struggle to survive and become increasingly desperate for the basic necessity of water. This was an interesting idea, water is such a basic need, it makes you wonder what you would do if suddenly the facet no longer turned on. How much water do you have around the house? What would you do? The sad thing about this story is while there is a drought going on, they didn't need to cut the river off and cause people to suffer and die. And it takes days for people to step in and help. I found myself drinking more water as I read this book. I will pick up a book if I see Neal Shusterman's name on it as it's going to be a good, imaginative story. His books seem to be consistently good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This+is+certainly+a+very+possible+future+for+all+of+us...+After+the+initial+opening+which+was+grand%2C+it+was+a+bit+slow...+It+picked+up+speed+after+the+first+few+chapters+till+it+reached+a+very+probable+conclusion...+There+are+some+very+interesting+surprises+along+the+way...+It+is+likely+that+this+will+happen+sometime+in+the+future...+Makes+me+glad+to+have+a+cistern+even+if+it+is+not+potable+water...+But+then%2C+I+can+always+boil+it...+
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
Right before I started this book it had been raining non-stop where I live and I'd been so angry about it. But once I started this book, all that dried up really quickly. (See what I did there? lol) This wasn't anything I had been expecting, but it definitely changed my mind about the rain that we'd been getting. Life for Alyssa was very normal up until the Tap Out. The water was scarce to begin with, but then it just was gone completely. And suddenly, things begin changing. Alyssa's street becomes a place crazed for water or anything to help with their thirst. It doesn't help that her parents have gone missing either. Now she is stuck making decisions for herself and her little brother. Decisions that could mean life or death. If you had asked me at the beginning if I was enjoying this, I would have said yeah. If you asked me towards the middle I would have said ehhhh. If you had asked me towards the end I wouldn't have answered you because I was immersed in the book and didn't pay attention to anyone or anything else until I finished. It kind of dragged for me towards the middle, but that's the only complaint I have. There were a couple of times where I had to take breaks so I wouldn't quit reading it. I wish it would've kept the same momentum the entire book. As for the characters, I can't say I loved them all, but they were all so well developed and they all felt like they were there for a reason. I loved that they went through everyone's POV as well. This is such a bad situation and with some of the things they went through, it was good to see how a different character was handling it. There's not very many books anymore that can surprise me (which is pretty sad lol) but this one did on many occasions. There were times when I had to say out-loud "OMG OMG OMG OMG" or "DAMN" because I wasn't expecting what happened to happen. I haven't been THAT surprised in a long time. For someone who doesn't like dystopians, this was not something I expected to like.They make me paranoid and I start thinking of how I could have survived in that type of situation and how I should be preparing. This one was no different. It made me realize how much water we take for granted. So of course, I had to go and check that everything we had drink wise was still in the fridge. And I had to get some water while there. And anything that can make me feel something like THAT, I know it was a definite winner for me. I also liked the fact that it was a science fiction novel but it never went too deep into the sciencey part of it. As someone who doesn't really care for science and math, that would have thrown me off, but this one never makes it too teachy and for that I was grateful. This read was out of my comfort zone, but it definitely proved that sometimes reading something that's different than your norm is a good thing. It wasn't perfect, but it made my heart race and it made me get up several times to get something to drink when we've been nowhere close to a drought for weeks where I am. This surprising read will make you check your fridge and start preparing now, just like I had to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
not+a+bad+read%21but+all+the+caracters%0Aare+teens+and+hope+for+a+movie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the near mishaps!
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I really got into this novel. The more I read, the more I could visualize this novel actually transpiring. As the water shortage flung individuals into a state of despair, they each fought for survival and would do anything to live through another day. As the book came to the close, I was disappointed in the ending. I felt it was a bit drawn out and the closure was just not what I expected from this novel. The novel did make me appreciate water more. I brought this novel to work with me as I wanted needed to finish it. I read a bit before walking into work and I had hoped, there would be some time during the day, to slip in a chapter or two. Students saw the book by my bag and as I was explaining the novel, I had a few students look up and you should have seen their faces. Concern, shock and bewilderedness was plastered upon them. I had to laugh as I listened to them, as they actually thought what I was talking about was a news story. They didn’t realize I was talking about a book and they were worried about the individuals in California. I thought this was a priceless moment as I had them engrossed in this novel and in the author. I liked that the novel begins immediately with the issue at hand, they have run out of water. Unable to fill up their dog’s water bowl, the family begins to inquire why their house is suddenly out of water. This issue begins small and then multiples. We also have the preppers in this novel, the individuals who has been stocking and preparing for the worse-case scenario to hit. Some individuals think of these people as strange or even over-the-top but they are the individuals who have everything that they need. I always thought I wanted to be a prepper but now, I’m not really sure. In a crisis, most people will behave erratically, so when this emergency occurs, individuals start to look out for themselves. They begin looting, they begin searching for any available source and soon, their searches go deeper and are more creative. It started to make me think about how creative I would be in such a crisis. You really need to look outside the box as some of these citizens did to stay alive. This was an entertaining and a compelling novel. This is my first novel that I have read by Neal Shusterman, although I have many other novels on my TBR list by him. I highly recommend this one. 4.5 stars